Wednesday, December 31, 2008


For some reason, I've always been fascinated by these little Spatterdocks and Waterlilies in general. I like the diagonal composition in this image, and it's all I can really say about it.

I found this little Spatterdock at Sawgrass Lake Park when I went there the other day. They normally aren't in bloom this time of year and there were quite a few in bloom.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Rat Snake

As promised 2 blogs ago, this is the image of the Rat Snake I got. He's about 2 1/2 feet long--they grow to about 5 feet and he was just crossing the boardwalk in front of me.

Rat Snakes are constrictors and crush their prey before they eat it. They prefer small birds and rodents. They're coloring differs depending on where in Florida they're found. This race (yellow with 4 black stripes) is the most common and can be found throughout the peninsula. In the Panhandle, they are gray with white blotches and no stripes, and in the Everglades, they are orangish with faint stripes.

By the way, if you noticed my new bio picture, it was taken by my boss, Michelle Alfonzo. I think she did a great job.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Red-shouldered Hawk

As promised, here is the photo of the Red-shouldered Hawk. I like the way he seems to be looking down his nose (beak) at me, like he's so superior.

I would've missed him if someone on the trail didn't point him out to me. He was right at eye level sitting on this branch. That's a place we never think to look for birds, since they're usually overhead.

With the way I love to take photos of birds, I have a hard time splitting my view between up in the trees and down on the ground. This guy was easy. I can't believe he just stayed there and let me make all the photos I wanted. He didn't seem afraid or bothered at all.

He sure is a beauty.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Today was my day!

Wow! Today was my day for photos! This afternoon I got an amazing shot of a Red-shouldered Hawk close-up then I got a shot of Rat Snake; both shots were made at Sawgrass lake Park. I usually don't go out in mid-afternoon shooting because the lighting is too harsh and the wild life isn't moving around, but today I just felt the need to go out for awhile, not expecting to see a thing because of the time.

The Red-shouldered Hawk was just sitting in a tree eye-level and sat right there letting me make all the photos I wanted. About 10 minutes later, a Rat Snake crossed the boardwalk directly in front of me. It was the first Rat Snake I've ever seen in the wild.

Tonight, about 10 minutes ago, I was outside and saw something white move on the electrical wire right in my front of me. It was pitch black and I couldn't tell what it was, so I got my camera attaching my long zoom and a flash hoping I'd get a better look.

It was so dark, the lens wouldn't focus on auto-focus, so I focused manually on the wire. I still didn't know what it was. I was hoping it would be in focus enough to tell what is was. To my surprise, the focus was nearly perfect and I caught this Eastern Screech Owl. He only stood still long enough for me to get 4 shots; this was the only one full face. I've only seen an owl in the wild twice before in my life. This one is very special.

I'll post the Red-shouldered Hawk and the Rat Snake at a later date. Watch for it!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas in Straub Park, St Petersburg, FL

Every year I look forward to the Christmas lights in Straub Park, in downtown St Petersburg. Last year, due to budget cut-backs the lights were scaled down a bit. This year, they were scaled down so much that they were no longer such a big deal.

It's so sad to see everything around us just falling apart. These times certainly are tough! Hopefully, for us all, my Christmas wish is that things will
turn around quickly.